What is the battle of Psalm 83?

The battle of Psalm 83 is a prophecy which relates to the end-times events described in the Bible. This battle has not happened at any point in history, and so it must be sometime in the future. In this article we will take a look at the battle of Psalm 83 and see how it relates to the end-times.

Psalm 83

This battle is described in the Bible in the book of Psalm, chapter 83. I will paraphrase it here. The enemies of God and Israel say: "Let's wipe out the nation of Israel and make sure that no one remembers it's name!". The countries who attack Israel are "Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia and Phoenicia. Even Assyria has joined forces with Moab and Ammon". The psalm writer wants God to "scatter them around like dust in a whirlwind. Just as flames destroy forests on the mountains, pursue and terrify them with storms of your own.".

So basically, a coalition of specific countries will come together in an attempt to wipe out Israel once and for all. But God will protect Israel and will destroy the attacking enemies. It is true that Israel has fought previous battles against her neighbors several times since becoming a country in 1948, yet if we analyze the identities of the countries who attacked, we can see that this specific alliance of countries has not yet happened.

Which countries will attack Israel?

To put this Psalm 83 prophecy into modern-day language, we will need to translate the Biblical names for these countries into their modern-day equivalents. If we look at where these places were when the psalm was written, we can see today which countries the Psalm is talking about.

  • Edom: An area south-west of Israel between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba [1]. Today this area is mostly in Jordan, but a small portion of Saudi-Arabia and Egypt also.
  • Moab: The area this country used to occupy is now part of modern-day Jordan [2].
  • Gebal: Gebal is now a city called Byblos which is in modern-day Lebanon.[3]
  • Ammon: This is also now in modern-day Jordan, and the current capital of Jordan is at the same location as Ammon's capital city.[4]
  • Amalek: Source [5] states the Amalekites were "A nomadic shepherd tribe of southern Palestine and the Sinai Peninsula.". The Sinai Peninsula is now part of modern-day Egypt.
  • Philistia: The Philistines lived in the area now known as the Gaza strip [5, p.366]. Today these people are called the Palestinians.
  • Phoenicia: In my CEV Bible [6], there is a note at Psalm 83:7 which says "The Hebrew text has 'Tyre', the main city in Phoenicia". Today, Tyre is along the coast of Lebanon. So we can see that Phoenicia is now present-day Lebanon.
  • Assyria: Today this country is called Syria, and is certainly hostile to Israel and has close ties to Iran and Turkey.

After a brief analysis of these ancient countries, we can see that they correspond to: Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, and the Palestinians (who as of yet do not have an official state, but do control the Gaza strip). All of these countries are Israel's immediate neighbors, and most have a large Muslim population.

We can see that the battle of Psalm 83 is not the Six-Day War which happened in 1967, because that brief conflict only involved Egypt, Syria, and Jordan [7]. In Psalm 83 it also mentions Lebanon and the Palestinians. Similarly, the Yom-Kippur war in 1973 involved Egypt and Syria, with some support from Iraq, Jordan, and Libya [8], so this was not Psalm 83 either. If we go back further to the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, we can see that this one involved Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq [9]. While this is closer to the countries listed in Psalm 83, it includes Iraq and does not have the Palestinians. Also, these countries still exist today and were not destroyed by God, so we know that Psalm 83 did not happen in 1948.

The Future of Damascus

It is interesting to note what is prophesied in the Bible about the city of Damascus - the capital of Syria. "Damascus is doomed! It will end up in ruins. The villages around Aroer will be deserted, with only sheep living there, and no one to bother them." (Isaiah 17:1-2). Currently Damascus is around 4.2 billion people, with a larger surrounding area of 6 million people. It has been an important city in the middle-east throughout the last few thousand years, and has never been deserted or destroyed [10]. So we know this event must happen sometime in the future.

It is perhaps possible to combine this prophecy of the destruction of Damascus with the battle of Psalm 83. In the prophecy about Damascus, Isaiah also says "Israel will lose its fortresses. The kingdom of Damascus will be destroyed - it's survivors will suffer the same fate as Israel."(Isaiah 17:3) and "At that time, the people will turn and trust their Creator, the holy God of Israel...Israel captured powerful cities and chased out the people who lived there. But these cities will lie in ruins, covered over with weeds and underbrush." (Isaiah 17:7-9).

Some commentators have said that they suspect the destruction of Damascus will be due to a nuclear bomb. To me, this situation where Israel loses cities and Damascus is nuked could seem to fit with the description of Psalm 83. Perhaps if small tactical nuclear weapons are used against Israel during an attack, Israel would retaliate against Damascus. Thus, Damascus and parts of Israel would be uninhabitable (similar to the areas around Fukushima or Chernobyl), and would become wasteland where only wildlife can live.

If God somehow protects portions of Israel from nuclear weapons, Israel would certainly be very grateful and would realize they could not have survived without God's intervention. This could be what turns them back to God, and they would make plans to start rebuilding their Temple. A rebuilt Jewish Temple is required for certain events in the Tribulation to occur. We will look at this more in detail later in this article.

The Importance of Psalm 83 to the Events in Revelation

There are several reasons why the battle of Psalm 83 is very important to the end-times events of the Tribulation.

Rebuilding the Temple

If Israel is protected by God from nuclear attacks, Israel might be inspired to rebuild their Temple. Over the past few decades, groups of Jews have been preparing everything necessary to rebuild their Temple, and are working on finding the necessary items to re-dedicate the Temple [11],[12]. In fact, they already have the blueprints ready! [11]. As soon as they get permission to build the Temple it could be only a matter of months to complete it. Currently the only hindrance is the political and spiritual will to give the project a go-ahead. Also, currently if the Jews would try to rebuild the Temple on the Temple Mount, their surrounding Muslim neighbors would certainly attack. However, if their neighbors are all destroyed or severely wounded after the battle of Psalm 83, Israel would have no resistance to rebuilding the Temple in that location.

The Jewish Temple is a necessary feature of the end-times events which happen during the Tribulation. Half-way through the Tribulation the Antichrist will enter the Temple and will declare himself to be God, which desecrates the Temple and causes the "Horrible Thing" (Daniel 9:27 and 11:36-38) which is probably an idol of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:5 and 13:14) to be placed there instead. So since this happens half-way through the seven-year Tribulation, the Temple must be rebuilt in the first half of the Tribulation. As discussed above, after the battle of Psalm 83 Israel will have the ability and motivation to rebuild the Temple, and it could be finished quite quickly.

Peace Treaty with the Antichrist

After this battle, the world will have finally had enough of the conflicts between Israel and her neighbors. This could be the catalyst for worldwide pressure for Israel and the remaining, defeated neighbors to sign a peace treaty, which is negotiated and signed by the Antichrist (Daniel 9:27, Revelation 6:2). Daniel 9:27 says "For one week, this foreigner will make a firm agreement with many people". In ancient Judaism, instead of grouping years into decades, they grouped years into "weeks", a period of seven years. So this peace treaty will be designed to last for seven years.

It is interesting to note that the religion of Islam teaches that "if the disbelievers outnumber the Muslims then the latter should accept and seek for peace per Sura 8:61. On the other hand, if the Muslims are greater in number and power then they must not pursue peace but seek to subjugate the unbelievers per Sura 47:35"[13]. Therefore, Israel's defeated enemies and other neighbors (such as Iran and Turkey) may sign a peace treaty with Israel because they fear that Israel is strong. Then a few years later they attack in the Gog-Magog war(Ezekiel 38-39) when they have built up enough forces that they feel they can try again. In fact, this seems to match historically with what Muhammed did - he created the peace treaty of Hudaibiya [14] with his enemies in Mecca, which lasted for two years and then he breaks his own treaty and returns to destroy them. This example of how Muhammed dealt with his enemies would allow other Muslim nations to treat Israel the same way.

It is also interesting to wonder why the Antichrist's peace treaty is written to last for seven years. Why not write a permanent peace treaty instead? Source [13] says that the policy for breaking a peace treaty if the Muslims become strong enough "destroys any basis for trust in peace treaties made by Muslims. They are never thought to be lasting but only until such time as the Muslims feel strong enough that it is to their advantage to break the peace and attack the unbelievers again. For this reason Islam does not know genuine peace treaties with non-Muslims, i.e. peace treaties that end war once and for all, but only temporary truces that can be dissolved at any time.". So the Antichrist's peace treaty certainly seems to match this pattern, and is broken by other Muslim nations (Iran, Turkey) and their allies (Russia, Libya, Sudan) during the Gog-Magog war. An interesting side-note is that if the Antichrist is in fact the Islamic Mahdi, as I discussed here, it would make perfect sense for him to draft a peace agreement which matches this Islamic policy.

Destruction of Surrounding Enemies

The destruction of Israel's immediate neighbors is what sets up the Gog-Magog war. The Gog-Magog war takes place when Israel lives in peace (Ezekiel 38:8) in towns with no walls or gates or locks (Ezekiel 38:10). Israel would only feel this peace and safety after their neighboring hostile enemies have been destroyed or severely weakened, such as would happen after the battle of Psalm 83.

Additionally, the countries that attack Israel later in the Gog-Magog war do not include any of the countries involved in Psalm 83. This confirms that Psalm 83 is sufficiently damaging that the neighboring countries cannot quickly rebuild their armies to join in the Gog-Magog war. As discussed above - the Muslim policy of making peace and waiting to attack later seems to apply to the Gog-Magog war. Countries like Iran and Turkey would certainly have reason to hate Israel if Israel nukes Damascus, since Syria is a close ally of both countries. Similarly, Russia has close ties with Iran and Turkey, and historically will side with those countries instead of the western European countries. Israel would be living at peace, and suddenly would be attacked from the Gog-Magog coalition of enemies as revenge for the defeat of Israel's neighbors in the battle of Psalm 83.

Application to Today

As of the date of writing this article, Israel does not have a peace treaty with anyone, and the Palestinians do not have an official state. There is pressure for Israel to make peace with the Palestinians and create a Palestinian country based on the 1967 borders of Israel before the Six-Day war. The Palestinians also intend to take their petition to the UN in September 2011 to get support for a Palestinian state [15],[16]. So what does this have to do with Psalm 83?

This is just speculation, but I wonder if this attempt by the Palestinians to declare statehood is the setup for Psalm 83. If the UN declares that the Palestinians are recognized and deserve a state, but Israel disagrees, that would certainly anger the surrounding Muslim countries which support the Palestinians. They may decide to attack Israel for not abiding by the UN's decree.

Another possibility is if the UN recognizes the Palestinians, and Israel agrees in order to avoid international condemnation. The surrounding Muslim nations may view Israel's agreement to a Palestinian state as a sign of weakness. They may take the opportunity to try to get rid of Israel once and for all, as they have tried previously through the various other Arab-Israeli wars.


The battle of Psalm 83 seems to be the catalyst for setting up conditions necessary for the rest of the end-times events of the Tribulation to occur. It defeats Israel's surrounding enemies, and destroys Damascus as prophesied elsewhere in the Bible. This prompts the peace treaty with the Antichrist which makes Israel feel like it is living in peace and safety. The protection of Israel by God is what returns Israel to following God, and allows them to rebuild the Jewish Temple. The remaining Muslim countries will wait and rebuild their armies and will break the peace-treaty during the Gog-Magog war which happens sometime during the Tribulation.

So while middle-east politics are constantly changing, eventually we should see them start to appear to line up to fulfill the battle of Psalm 83. However, I don't think we'll know when it will happen until it happens, as it will probably be quite sudden.


[1] wikipedia.org - Edom
[2] wikipedia.org - Moab
[3] wikipedia.org - Gebal
[4] wikipedia.org - Ammon
[5] Barnes, Ian (2006) The Historical Atlas of the Bible, Chartwell Books Inc, Cargographica Ltd.
[6] The Promise Bible for Students - Contemporary English Edition,(1997) Thomas Nelson Publishers
[7] wikipedia.org - Six Day War
[8] www.infoplease.com - The 1973-74 War
[9] www.infoplease.com - The 1948-49 War
[10] wikipedia.org - Damascus
[11] The Temple Institute - About the Temple Institute
[12] www.squidoo.com - "Third Temple in Jerusalem plans to be rebuilt."
[13] www.answering-islam.org - "Should Muslims Accept Peace or Not?" by Sam Shamoun
[14] www.thereligionofpeace.com - The Myths of Muhammed
[15] The New York Times - "In Israel, Time for Peace Offer May Run Out" by Ethan Bronner
[16] www.boston.com - "Palestinian UN bid enters unknown territory" by Edith. M Lederer and Karin Laub